Shohei Ohtani gets team MVP award; Angels fans chant ‘sell the team’

Getting a chance to see Shohei Ohtani was the biggest reason to attend Saturday’s game between the Angels and the Oakland Athletics. The two-way star, who had not been around the team since undergoing a procedure on this right elbow last week, was back at Angel Stadium to accept the team’s 2023 MVP award in a pregame ceremony.

The Angels then lost to the Athletics 7-3 amid fan chants of “sell the team” in what seemingly was a joint message directed at the respective owners of both clubs.

The 111-loss Athletics held the Angels hitless for 6 1/3 innings. Joe Boyle, the Athletics’ 24-year-old starter, seemed to confound the Angels while also benefiting from some flashy Oakland defense. A’s second baseman Zack Gelof hit a solo home run off Angels opener Andrew Wantz in the first inning.

Rookie first baseman Nolan Schanuel led off the seventh with a walk, extending his on-base streak to 29 consecutive games, tied for third-longest to begin an MLB career. Brandon Drury then doubled to right to end Boyle’s no-hit bid. Schanuel was driven in on a sacrifice fly by Mike Moustakas and the Angels took the lead on Logan O’Hoppe’s two-run home run, his ninth in September.

The A’s retook the lead in a five-run eighth inning against Angels relievers Ben Joyce and José Soriano.

Angels owner Arte Moreno, who took part in the on-field ceremony last year when Ohtani also won the team MVP award, was not part of the front-office contingent that congratulated him on the field this year. Ohtani had not been seen at Angel Stadium since the start of the team’s homestand on Monday. When he ran out from the dugout for the ceremony, the home crowd screamed in delight.

The crowd sounded much different by the end of the eighth inning when “sell the team” chants shifted briefly to an “Arte sucks” chant.

Closer Carlos Estévez was named the Nick Adenhart Pitcher of the Year. Both team awards were voted on by Angels players.